Ex-Lanka cricketer Dhammika Prasad begins 24-hour hunger strike demanding justice for Easter terror attack victims

He is staging the protest to demand justice for the victims of the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings which killed 269 people.
Easter Sunday bombings. (File photo | AP)
Easter Sunday bombings. (File photo | AP)

COLOMBO: Former Sri Lanka cricketer Dhammika Prasad on Friday began a 24-hour hunger strike urging the country's leaders to deliver justice to the Easter Sunday attack victims and people of the island-nation who are suffering from the current economic crisis.

Prasad joined the anti-Rajapaksa protesters at the Galle Face esplanade located near President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's secretariat.

He is staging the protest to demand justice for the victims of the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings which killed 269 people.

"I want justice for all innocent victims of the bombings," Prasad told reporters. Prasad, 39, played 25 Tests and 24 ODIs between 2006 to 2015 taking 75 and 32 wickets respectively in the two formats.

The Easter Sunday bombings and its investigations have caused many political headlines with the Catholic church accusing the government of a cover-up.

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith the Archbishop of Colombo is at the forefront of the campaign to seek justice for the victims. He has repeatedly accused the government of covering up investigations for political needs.

Six near-simultaneous suicide blasts at three churches and three tourist hotels on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019, killed 269 people.

A man left the fourth hotel without setting off his bomb but later killed himself by detonating his explosives at a different location.

Among those killed were worshippers at Easter services and tourists having breakfast at their hotels.

Two local Muslim groups that had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group were blamed for the attacks.

Meanwhile, the Galle Face protests have entered their seventh day with more and more youth joining it every passing day.

They urge the resignation of President Gotabaya for his incompetence in handling the island's worst-ever economic crisis. The protest campaign has been running on social media, urging youths to gather at Galle Face.

Besides, there have been continuing protests across the island, blaming the government for its mishandling of the forex crisis which led to severe shortages of essentials. The island nation is in the midst of one of the worst economic crises it's ever seen.

It has just defaulted on its foreign debts for the first time since its independence, and the country's 22 million people are facing crippling 12-hour power cuts, and an extreme scarcity of food, fuel and other essential items such as medicines.

Protesters celebrated the traditional Sinhala and Tamil New Year at the site on Thursday which was marked by the announcement that international rating agencies Fitch and Standard and Poor have further downgraded the Sri Lankan economy.

The rating agency downgraded came as Sri Lanka announced its inability to meet its debt payment.

The government said it was suspending all international debt servicing with effect from 12 April, the first such instance in the island's independent history of 74 years.

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The New Indian Express